This has way too much of my own stupid anxiety in it, and I feel attacked. Being serious, though. I know I have missed the train on Hall. I still have to get around to reading Rosalie Palmer and Boyfriend Material, and his other books. I like his writing here. Not only he has a perfect command of Paris’ voice, the writing is genuinely funny and swoony.
Most rom-coms I’ve read lately are the farthest thing from comedic, and some books that were pitched to me as funny really disappointed. This is lol funny, especially during the baking show, with the judges and host and crew all standing out as complete characters that are also charismatic and quirky enough you could completely see them working on TV.
I do agree with the reviewers who say that being in Paris’ mind is a lot, though. It’s not bad representation, but it is tiring to spend so much time inside the mind of someone who struggles so much with just about every human interaction no matter how commonplace or benign. I would have loved this a lot more otherwise.
I still recommend it, especially for fans of true rom-coms. See if it's something you love. I think this one will divide people, but I also feel that, with Hall's talent and absolutely amazing pace and jokes, he'll make a lot of people fans of Paris.
I think I'm going to recommend people read this book when they asked me what my anxiety feels like just so they can get a glimpse of how exhausting it is. No wonder I'm tired all the time.
I have a lot of feelings about this book. I don't think that I loved it as much as Rosalie Palmer and from an objective perspective, this book isn't as well done, but it still means a lot to me.
As soon as I finished this book I anticipated the reviews. I knew exactly what people were going to say and it had a lot to do with our MC being exhausting and overwhelming and over the top and too much. And maybe Paris is all of that. But I think it's an important side of representation to have.
As someone who has generalized anxiety disorder and has lived with it for 20 years, it was almost too much for me to read the first half of this book. I spent the first 60 to 70% with bouts of sniffling and crying and my vision being blurry from tears but pushing forward anyway. It felt like my own brain on the page and that is terrifying. I mean truly I don't need two anxiety spirals 😅 but it also felt validating in a way. This book is not going to be for everyone and I almost wouldn't recommend it to people with anxiety because of how triggering it could be. There were a lot of moments where I felt exactly the same as Paris and all of a sudden I got worried that in real life people would react to my anxiety the way that they reacted to his and anxiety is a monster. It is a cycle that is moving so quickly that it feels actually impossible to throw yourself out of. I worry that the constant panic and anxiety representation in the first half of this book is going to trigger people with anxiety or it's going to completely put off people who don't have anxiety. I don't know if this was the best choice in writing and perhaps a dual POV would have helped break up that almost exhausting feeling you got when reading.
So even though I know the people are going to shit on this and I will come out and say that it's not as good as Rosaline Palmer, it is still a great book and one that I'm glad to have read. Is it one that I'm going to reread? Probably not for the sake of my mental health but it is one that I am grateful to have read and am excited to see reviews from other people. Also can we just get a round of applause for another cover with a rainbow cake? The queer baker in me is very happy.
A few other thoughts:. Tariq was awesome and I love that he had some own self-discovery moments at the end. I really appreciated seeing representation where sex was not on the table and it's not on the table for the entirety of the book. I love the ending. I really appreciate the discussion about therapy and how it's not okay to use mental illness as an excuse to treat people poorly. There are a lot of great conversations that happen beyond Paris's anxiety and that was great. I do wish there was more conversation about Paris's parents and I don't know how I feel about his flatmate.
Maybe I'll have more thoughts later. Who knows.
i don’t really know what to say about this book. in a way, the romance was cute, important subjects were brought up, tariq deserves the world and the setting was cute.
otherwise, paris’ anxiety made me feel weird. ive been diagnosed with anxiety and i think it’s great to see rep but this one was exhausting. and that’s exactly what anxiety is, it’s exhausting and sometimes it’s all you can think about.
but paris’ character was defined by his anxiety. i felt like he had nothing else going for him. (expect knowing how to bake ig?). it also felt like his clumsiness was present because he was anxious (as if people with anxiety HAVE to be clumsy). i also think his anxiety is not an excuse to act poorly. his character felt like a sort of cliche about people with anxiety which is dumb because everyone’s different. i still understand why people relate and i know this is still great representation for people to understand how exhausting anxiety is.
I understood the feeling the author was going for here with Paris but he was so annoying. I kept waiting for him to get better and he just got worse. Yes, I understand that’s what it’s like in real life but it was tough to read at times. Also there was about 5 too many Tigger references for me.
This is a 5 star book, but possibly a 4 star romance, and I devoured it in one sitting. Alexis Hall is one of the undisputed best writers in queer romance (technical writing ability, style, character development, making me cry onto my smartphone at 2am - all the usual marks of excellence) so I've really just sat with this feeling of sad unease I've had from this book's ending for the past day trying to make sense of my feelings, and I've come to a few conclusions:
1. The characters are fantastic, and possibly all my minor criticisms of this book come from relating to them too strongly. It would be far too easy to Flanderize Paris into becoming the punchable type of anxiety-ridden mess he apparently comes off as on TV, but he was extremely relatable on the page. Possibly too relatable, because part of the reason I felt uneasy with this book is that I really strongly felt like Tariq owed him a bigger apology (honestly, I would've loved a classic romance Grovel scene) than he got for a couple of comments made later in the book that really still have me feeling the sting. That being said, I know I'd feel the same way about Paris needing a better apology if the book was told from Tariq's perspective and I didn't have the context for what Paris was thinking. Just, more apologies, sooner, all around.
(Counterpoint to this point: I'm torn as to whether me, a fan, wanting more apologies and groveling from my romance isn't the equivalent of a toddler wanting more sugar with breakfast. Like, yes, it's a popular opinion, but I don't feel particularly urbane or sophisticated for having it...)
2. The humor couldn't be more on point. It never devolves into farce despite tending delightfully towards the absurd. The modern world's pretty absurd, none of this detracts from the realism or emotional intensity of Paris and Tariq's feelings at all, and it's rare that a romance makes me laugh out loud through my tears.
3. As a romantic fiction book, it's perfect. It's funny, it's sad, it's a bit hopeful. The outcome of the romance and attraction is realistic.
But... I don't know that I read romance for the realism? I want to close the book and feel confident that these 2 characters have found someone for the long-haul, even if they still have a few things they clearly need to work through to thoroughly realize it for themselves. I want to feel like they WILL get there. But in this book, I'm not sure they're even right for each other. I very badly want them to be, but I'm not sure how things will play out, and that's part of what contributes to the feeling of slightly sad unease I have with this book's ending.
4. I'm rating this 5 stars (even as a romance), despite slight unease noted above, because I feel this is a real First Book in a duology / trilogy type situation. For instance - I loved Boyfriend Material while still being mildly depressed by the ending: I felt it needed more apologies all around, it needed another 50 pages (note: from a technical standpoint it certainly did not, but I'm in Fan Mode here, not English Major mode), it was realistic but slightly depressing at the end, I wanted more of a Happy For Now than we got - but it got a sequel, which not only solves all those issues but turns those issues into actual positives. Similarly, KJ Charles' Slippery Creatures is my favorite Romance-with-a-Capital-R of all time, and Book 1 of that ends on an even less convincing Happy For Now. Perhaps it even ends on what could charitably be called a Content For Now. (Perhaps a, Probably Not Going to Assault You For Now). And yet - most romantic thing I've ever read, because it got there eventually, and those HEAs felt incredibly well-earned.
The thing is, I think that despite my somewhat embarrassingly romantic ideals when it comes to romantic fiction, a single modern romance book usually can't realistically end on a HEA - just a HFN. And if the book tries to force a HEA it just ends up feeling schmaltzy and unrealistic. Alexis Hall has never once, by anyone's mark, gone for schmaltzy and unrealistic. But a modern HEA (or, adjusting my non-cynical romantic expectations a smidge here, a really strong HFN) can absolutely come from a duology or trilogy of a series, and it feels so much more well-earned. Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble absolutely feels like the first book of an amazing duology.
I love the characters. I cried all night reading this (completely sober, mind you) - seeing both Paris and Tariq sort of miss each other like ships in the night really hurt. I'm here for the story, but I'll admit it may lose something in the Romance (rather than romantic fiction) department if it doesn't continue.
And yet, even if it doesn't continue, it made me feel more than any romance book I've read in months. I haven't cried with any other book this year. I bet you anything I'm going to reread it and cry the whole time the next round, too.
Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble
Talk about a sweet story. Get it? Baking puns?
A story full of banter, comical characters, delicious baking. Paris is a young college PhD candidate in London who is entered into a baking competition by his housemate. While there, he meets some colorful characters, learns a lot about himself, and creates some beautiful baked creations.
This story focused on a sweet, anxious soul named Paris, who didn’t know he had anxiety, but the readers most certainly did. For a fellow anxious, I could relate to Paris all throughout. Tariq beautifully supported Paris and grew as an individual, too.
If you like the Great British Bake-Off and Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material, you will love this book. Alexis Hall has quickly become a must read author for me.
Thank you to @netgalley for the ARC copy of this book. This book publishes October 18, so add it to your TBR now.
Have you read Alexis Hall’s work? Which was your favorite?
#queerromance #bookstagram #booksbooksbooks #parisdaillencourtisabouttocrumble #ktreadsabook #alexishall #alexishallbooks #netgalley #lgbtqreads
This is the second book (of three) from Hall's new queer romcom series!
And she has done it again!
I enjoyed every damn minute of this sequel!
Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall was completely and delightfully one of the greatest I've had the pleasure of reading here lately.
It was fabulous and fun, and overall a completely delightfully engrossing m/m romp.
The story was fun and also this book was really funny!
I found myself laughing and grinning multiple times though the book.
The characters are both flawed, delicate, strong, funny and so relatable, and possess all the great characteristics that make the reader fall so in love with them from get-go.
Her stellar writing and plotting, she's cemented herself as an auto-buy author for me.
I was utterly charmed by this story.
I can't wait for her book two Something Fabulous series.
“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”
Thank you for your generosity and gifting a copy of this approved eARC!
thank you netgalley (and Alexis Hall +team) yet again for this wonderful opportunity.
I loved Rosaline Palmer takes the cake so much (despite being a shit baker) that i had to come back.
And I'm honestly glad i did, at first? i kind of liked paris for like 13% of the book then i just didn't? At all? Side characters kind of stole the whole show but then at like the 85% mark i started liking him again because, he's a mess (like me) and just needed to recognize that he needs some help, also he has shit parents (still like me) so he's bound to be a little messed up
was kind of thrown off by tariq but his arguments made sense to me honestly, so sending him (and his entire family, because they're sweet hearts, all the kisses)
AND MORAG (affectionate)
Thank you to NetGalley and Forever for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
It was a quick read and kept me entertained. I liked that there was a lot of discussion about mental health, communication, anxiety, and growing as a person. As someone with anxiety (though not the same flavor anxiety as the main character) it was nice to see it represented. However, for me, it elevated my anxiety a bit reading about someone else's anxiety (but that is about me, not the book).
Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble is Alexis Hall’s next book set in his Bake Expectations world. It combines the world of reality cooking shows with a tender queer romance that focuses on the impact of mental health.
Paris is a contestant on Bake Expectations. He’s only there because his roommate has entered him, and he happens to be an amazing baker. There he meets Tariq, another contestant who wants to use his time on the show showcase his life as a gay man and as a practicing Muslim in the UK. But, can Paris make it through the pressure of the competition, or will his anxiety take over every aspect of his life?
Paris and Tariq are adorable. Throughout most of the book, I just wanted to give each of them a big hug. But these are very complex characters with no simple answers. It feels a little strange that the reader realizes just how serious Paris’s anxiety really is well before he does. And social media commentary around the show clearly doesn’t help.
In addition to the thoughtful exploration of mental health, this book also showed an interesting perspective on Tariq and his relationship to his religion. I haven’t read many books with queer Muslim representation, and I liked the way the author reconciled the two. Throw in Tariq’s family’s various degrees of religiousness, and it was an exploration that looked beyond a single point of view.
Hall’s trademark quips and humor fill this more serious story, and make it entertaining as well as informative. With each romance, Hall convinces me that he can write a great book in any genre he chooses, and this book is no exception.
Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble is a charming romance with well developed characters and delicious baked goods. It is also an interesting look at anxiety and how your mental health can affect yourself as well as the people around you. Paris and Tariq are worthy characters who deserve their HEA.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I really thought I would like this one, but that's not what ended up happening. The concept was cute, and the characters had potential, but there was one glaring issue.
And that issue was Paris. I appreciate the anxiety rep, I really do. Some of his stresses were relatable. But the sheer amount of them was exhausting. It was constant crying, constant what-ifs, and constant denial of the other characters. He was a douche to all of the other characters, and by the end, I was done with it. I was rooting for him to end up solo and grown, not back with Tariq (who deserved better)
Really though, Paris could've been fine. He could've been amazing anxiety rep if this were written with dual POVs. Having Tariq's POV would've allowed more connection to the romance as well as a break from Paris. He was just too much, all of the time. It hurt my brain to read
Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Alexis Hall's writing is simply spectacular. Some of the stories he chooses to tell interest me more than others, and I don't agree with every choice he makes—but starting a new book of his is like being wrapped in comfort and joy, and I spent yesterday very happily cocooned in Paris Daillencourt.
There were some things about this book that weren't my favorites. Minor spoilers ahead:
For starters, I, personally, am opposed to organized religion, so I didn't find that characterization appealing. On the other hand, the fact that Tariq's faith meant the characters didn't have sex (beyond kissing) was refreshing. (Not that I don't enjoy some good fictional smut, but this was a nice change.) I also found the complete absence of Paris's parents... hard to buy? Maybe I'm simply being provincial, but it seemed unlikely to me that even rich, disengaged parents wouldn't bother to reply to a text now and again.
And yes, Paris is exhausting. But he's also so earnest, and Tariq is so delightful, and of course the not-at-all-GBBO setting is a joy. As usual with Alexis Hall, the secondary characters sparkle (three cheers for positive fat representation!), and while this isn't going to overtake Boyfriend Material in my list of faves, it was a treat, and I'll eagerly look forward to more books in this universe. 4.5 stars from me.
My thanks to the publisher/NetGalley for a complimentary advance copy of this book.
I really liked this book, but it doesn't feel completely like a romance novel in the romance genre. Which is fine, to be clear! Just adjust your expectations!
To be honest, the British definition of romance leans into a genre that is more Chick Lit or Women's Fiction where the focus is on the growth of the character and their self-actualization and the romance is important, but more as one of the goals or the reward for fixing your own sh*t, than the whole book.
So I'm not sure what a chick lit book is called when it's two young men. But Alexis Hall's books are often in more this British style. Which, well, of course. Just over-explaining for us Americans. Or attempting to explain, anyway.
Paris is a mess, to be honest. He's gorgeous and lovely and someone should have helped him get help a long, long time before. His parents are completely absent and had been leaving him behind for a long time and his posh private school just messed him up further. Thank god he has his roommate, Morag, and his impossibly named cat, though they're neither one a huge help.
It's not a rom-com, though there are many funny things on the way as we follow Paris through his Bake Expectations journey from first day of filming to watching the final on TV several months later. But most of it is how he, like it says in the title, crumbles.
I think my main problem with the book is that it's structured in such a way that it's a trip through depression and anxiety and failure. It feels heavy like bread that didn't rise and unformed like a custard that didn't set and you floated candy on top anyway as decoration. I wanted more lightness and hope, I think.
So anyway, I'm giving it 4/5 for what it is, which is a novel about anxiety and losing everything, and the missing star is for the romance not being central and not having a clear feeling of Paris winning by the end.
I got the Arc from netgalley when they opened it up to anyone who wanted one. And because I think Alexis Hall is amazing, I read it in less than 24 hours and have no regrets.
Alexis Hall is a truly gifted writer. His two other books this year already made my personal favorite booklist. Something fabulous was terrific fun and I giggled so much throughout the book. A lady for a duke was so romantic, heartbreaking and swoony. Paris Daillencourt is about to crumble is sweet and funny.
Paris is entered in the nation's favourite baking show by his roommate. He wins week one's challenge and falls for another contestant Tariq. He is shattered by the show's vicious fanbase and loses confidence in himself. He already has an anxiety disorder and the show is not easy on him.....
I like how the book handles the many controversial issues.... They are all dealt with in a gentle, respectful and sensitive manner. The humour as usual is on point and so sly. :) Both characters are truly delightful and people that you would want to spend time with! :) A lovely and funny book. Now I just have to wait for Husband Material to come out..... :)
Thanks to the publisher for the arc.
You know that feeling when you empathize too much with someone when they're stressed and it inadvertently throws you off? That happened a few times in this book. A cute story following Paris's endeavors on a baking competition show, the reader follows his POV throughout...every. single. anxiety. riddled. moment. I enjoy Alexis Hall's style and it is really fun, but I almost wish their books switched between POV's to add more depth. Tariq would have been a fun character to follow as well! I will never hesitate to read something by Alexis Hall.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
So, so good. I loved it.
What's both brilliant and challenging about this novel is that the protagonist has an undiagnosed -- and then eventually diagnosed -- anxiety disorder, and we're in his head the whole time, and that's a hard place to be. Alexis Hall captures so well what it's like to have your brain turning against you. So if, like me, you too have challenges with anxiety, this will all feel very familiar and real and hard. I was having an anxious week when I read this novel, which hit very close to home, such that I actually cried <u>a lot</i> while reading it. (Your mileage may vary, obviously.) BUT -- as Paris discovers, and I can confirm -- medication and therapy really do work well to treat anxiety. So this is ultimately quite an optimistic novel; it just takes a while to get to the happier place. (None of this is a spoiler if you've read the "Content Guidance" at the start of the book.)
Also, unlike the previous novel in the series, this isn't what I would call a romance novel. Yes, there's romance in it, but the romance isn't the main thing by a long shot. (It was lovely to hear that Rosaline and Harry are still dating. And I enjoyed seeing Alain again, to confirm that he is still a wanker.)
Tariq was lovely, an utter delight, and I so appreciate Hall's decision to write a religiously observant Muslim gay character. And the regular cast and crew of <i>Bake Expectations</i> continue to make me laugh; I look forward to the next book in the series.
This is definitely one of those books that I'll be buying a copy of to reread!
I love Alexis Hall the way I love family, and I will never stop reading his books. He is a delight. That said! This was sort of middling for me; I wasn't terribly invested in the romance, and I found myself frustrated by Paris and the depiction of his anxiety. It's an important story, I think, but my god it was drawn OUT, and I got a little bored waiting for Paris to realize how poorly he was treating Tariq and how seriously his anxiety was affecting his life. I think I wanted more emotional development with Paris's parents plot too (it did get me in the end when he texted Sophie, I did a wee tear).
I also think the reality show format in books may be wearing on me - I didn't find myself interested in what was going to happen week after week, which is kind of the whole gimmick of the series. But as always, Alexis Hall writes lovely characters and lovely banter, and there's a lot to enjoy here! Just not perfect for me.
Thanks to NetGalley and Forever for the arc!
First thing: I have and will read anything Alexis Hall writes. And I loved Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake.
Second: I’ve watched every season of GBBO and love it, but I think I love incisive facsimiles of it even more. And this is certainly one. Even more than Rosaline Palmer, you really get a sense of the show producers and judges and hosts here. It’s Series Two after all.
Three: writing an accurate depiction of anxiety is extremely hard. Too many writers treat it as a punchline or give a couple examples of someone worrying about something excessively to make their point. . But untreated Generalized Anxiety Disorder is all-consuming.
Four: which is why what Alexis Hall did here is so impressive. He shows—really shows—the reader the depths of Paris’s anxiety. You really get the sense of how exhausting it must be to be Paris AND to be around him. But Hall doesn’t just carefully depict a character with anxiety; he makes him the main character in a romance. And Paris doesn’t even know he’s anxious for much of the book, so it’s even more full-on. And this romance about someone debilitated by anxiety is not only excellent, it’s frequently hilarious. But also full of all the feelings: I cried nonstop through the last 30% of the book. What Hall did is the authorial equivalent of balancing on a razor blade, and not only does no one get knicked but you find yourself at the end wanting more of the danger.
This is definitely a book I’ll reread soon to catch the parts I missed (and to spend more time with Tariq, who is lovely and imperfect). But I still feel safe giving this five stars. Alexis Hall does it again. Thank heavens.
I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. But I’ll totally still buy a copy to support the author as well.